Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Morning Wedding Revisited

You may think I'm crazy. I set my alarm for 3:15 on Friday morning just to join the royal wedding hype. Although I'm definitely not a Republican (in the British, anti-monarchy sense of the word), I'm not head over heels for the royals either. They're nice, and I admire them, but I'm not flying over to England just to stand in a crowd in Hyde Park and maybe catch a passing glimpse of the Glass Carriage on its way to Buckingham Palace. No, I'm content to wake up and watch the festivities from my bed.

But I'm not even really interested in seeing Kate and William--now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge--tie the knot. Her dress was beautiful. And he did look dashing in his Army uniform. But that's not my focus. Here's the real reason I woke up at 3:15 on Friday morning to watch the wedding:

I think Linda Wertheimer got it JUST right. Listen to her short story from NPR. Her perspective on the event was precisely correct in the best possible sense. Her observations of the wedding from an American's point of view highlight every good reason to have tuned in. Most important among those observations comes at the 1:41 point.

She recalls for the radio audience all the royal weddings that have gone before and have "beg[un] beautifully and end[ed] badly"--Charles and Diana, Andrew and Fergie, Margaret and Peter Townsend. This marraige, she notes, is starting off like all the others, "lavish and lovely, the brides tucked into carriages filled with their fluffy veils..." But she draws our attention to the repeated admonitions given by "bishops and the Book of Common Prayer" that these wedding vows will be in effect until the end of their lives. In other words, despite all the tragedy of previous royal marriages, this time we hear again an expression of a life-long committment.

For me, this marriage is a very public celebration of the Christian principle of life-long union. The people of Great Britain and the entire world have a reason to be excited about marraige. Too often lately we have had reasons to disparage the institution, and this event gives me new hope. I don't know whether it will be any different, but Friday morning's event wasn't a secular affair. It wasn't even a royal affair. It was just a wedding--a from-the-Prayer-Book, straight-up, Jesus-and-all, Christian wedding. And if we can get several million people to watch it...that's something to celebrate.

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